Christy Carlson Romano Debunks Her $3 Million Net Worth, Explains 'How I Blew All My Disney Money'
Christy Carlson Romano is no stranger to being a role model for kids after starting her career on the Disney Channel.
The Emmy Award nominee, 37, used her platform to impart some financial wisdom while recounting "how I made and lost millions of dollars" in a video posted Thursday to her YouTube channel. "This is how I blew all my Disney money. I started making money with Disney when I was 16," she began.
"My biggest thing about child actors, you aren't told that the work is going to slow down," Romano explained later in the video. "In fact, I was told the opposite, specifically by my mom, some of my team, even my money manager at the time."
She then took a walk through a serene grassy area as she explained the ins and outs of the entertainment industry for child stars. Romano expressed regret for having not invested wisely or buying a house during the early years of her career. Although she put some of her money toward college when she was 18, she dropped out a year and a half later (Romano later finished her degree when she was about 30).
"Then I had this money at my disposal," she explains. "I was never told how much money I was making. Money didn't have a purpose for me, I didn't really know what it was. I just knew that I had it and didn't care about it. That's a problem."
Romano also recalled helping her parents out with money, which made their relationship and other parts of her life "more and more complicated." At 21, she parted ways with her family for about a year, "because I didn't like the way that my money was being managed. And it was a sad year for me, but it was also an interesting year."
The Even Stevens star said she subsequently gained a better understanding of how much money she had, but not how to handle it. With a relationship that made her feel she wasn't "good enough," Romano began spending to try and fit a certain lifestyle. She particularly remembers dropping the most money on "big ticket items" at Ralph Lauren, a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, and a psychic that "managed to get a lot of money from me."
Romano ended up taking roles in "movies I didn't want to do," detailing one part in particular of which she isn't proud. "Basically, I did a nude scene," she recalled. "I had never thought in a million years that I would ever do something like this. I was America's sweetheart, morally sound in my mind. I believed in the Disney magic, I still do. And then I felt so exploited and marked and horrible."
"Obviously, I'm OK now. I promise you I'm OK. I have made peace with this. But there are some realities that come to play," she added. "The truth is that I did this movie for the money, because I was desperate to feel that feeling that I had when I was making tons of money and everything was OK."
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Romano concluded by dispelling the misleading (if not completely false) celebrity net worths available online. "It's crazy, because it said I was worth $3 million," she said.
"I am not a millionaire in any way, shape or form, I'm just a mom monetizing my channel, doing sponsored content, having fun, working when I can," Romano insisted.